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Toxic Neighbour and Nalajuk Night win at Yorkton Film Festival

Winners of Ruth Shaw Award and Best of Festival, respectively.

YORKTON – The 75th annual Yorkton Film Festival was held over the weekend.

The three-day event featured screenings, seminars and lectures with the Golden Sheaf Awards Gala being held on Saturday night.

27 awards were given out during the gala and included the Ruth Shaw Best of Saskatchewan award which was awarded to the film 'Toxic Neighbour' and accepted by director Colin Scheyen.

"I wasn't expecting this at all," said Scheyen upon accepting the award, adding, "I will say I want to thank my producers Ann Shin and Hannah Donegan for their dedication to helping me make, whatever this was."

Toxic Neighbour is a 25-minute film focusing on Ann and Eugene Bourgeois, who were sheep farmers living next to the largest nuclear complex in the world; the Bruce Nuclear Station in Ontario, according to Scheyen.

The director said the Bourgeois' initially had no fears associated with their farm being so close to the nuclear plant, but when the plant was releasing hydrogen sulphide into the air in the 1980s and 1990s issues arose.

"The film was shot in Ontario but all the post‐production was completed in Saskatchewan," read a paragraph in a press release from YFF.

"Most importantly, I want to thank Ann and Eugene who are the centrepieces of this film – who just wanted to live beautiful and creative lives and were interrupted by a nuclear industry that was ambivalent to who they are as people and their dignity – and so I want to thank them for everything they gave me to make this film."

Jennie Williams' 'Nalajuk Night' was the recipient of three awards throughout the evening including the Documentary Arts/Culture, the Kathleen Shannon Award, and the Best of the Festival.

"This is my very first film that I've ever made," said Williams after receiving the award, adding, "this short film was filmed in -40 and we did it in two days – it took us four years to make."

Nalajuk Night, "documents the unique cultural tradition of 'nalujuk night' among the Inuit people of Nunatsiavut. Essentially sort of a cross between Christmas and Hallowe'en, nalujuk night is an annual event in which community members dress up as nalujuit, mythical sea creatures, and go around the community on January 6 giving treats to children; 'good' children get their treats right away, while 'bad' children get "chased" by the creatures until they sing a song to earn their treats," according to the film's Wikipedia page.

"There's definitely going to be many more because I'm hooked on it now," said Williams.

For the complete list of winners, visit the Yorkton Film Festival's website.